Berlin's European Film Market Unveils Digital Plans

European Film Market, Berlin - H 2018
Courtesy of European Film Market

Berlin's European Film Market will be an all-virtual affair this year.

The market related to the Berlin Film Festival has announced details of its plans for its 2021 event, which will be held online in March. 

Berlin's European Film Market has revealed details of its plans for its first all-digital market, to be held from March 1-5, 2021.

The 2021 EFM will be held alongside the of the 71st Berlin International Film Festival. The festival will hold a separate, in-person event in Berlin in June.

The online market will be focused on virtual screenings akin to those seen at last year's virtual Cannes and virtual American Film Market events. Screenings will be scheduled and only accessible within a 2-hour time window after the designated start time. Sellers will set time zones for their screenings to allow buyers in different regions to view the movies at the same local time. Copyright owners will be able to limit their market screenings to selected groups of market participants as desired.

In addition to the booked screenings, the 2021 EFM will also include an online presentation of the titles picked for the official festival selection, in the competition, Berlinale Special, Encounters, Panorama, Forum, Forum Expanded, Generation, Berlinale Shorts, Berlinale Series, and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections.
The market will also host a virtual version of its industry conference program on.

The program will be put together as a cooperative effort by the Berlinale Series Market, DocSalon, the EFM Producers Hub, the Berlinale Africa Hub, EFM Landmark, EFM Horizon, and the Initiative Diversity & Inclusion, under the title EFM Industry Sessions. Some of the sessions will require pre-registration, or be invitation-only but many of the live streams will be accessible on-demand after taking place.

Berlin decided to move its film market online this year amid ongoing safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 EFM was the last major international film market to be held in-person.

Berlin also announced details of its co-production market, its Berlinale Talents program, and the World Cinema Fund. The co-production market, which connects select producers with financiers and distributors, will coordinate some 1,000 online meetings between March 1-5. The co-pro market unveiled its 2021 selection Friday, which includes 35 feature film projects from 25 countries, including new works from Poland's Jan Komasa (Corpus Christi), Singapore auteur Anthony Chen (Ilo Ilo), and Canadian veteran filmmaker Bruce McDonald (Pontypool). Producers and financiers looking to partner on the co-production projects can contact the Berlinale co-production market directly. Participants need to buy an official EFM market badge to take part in the co-pro market.

The Berlinale Talents, which brings together some 200 up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world, will also be online-only this year. Berlin has enlisted award-winning German set-designer Uli Hanish (The Queen’s Gambit, Babylon Berlin) to create a digital set to allow participants from 65 countries to come together virtually, as well as take part in Talents events including industry talks and live-streamed workshops with leading global filmmakers. Berlinale Talents will publish its complete program in mid-February.

The Berlinale World Cinema Fund (WCF), which supports film production from territories with poor film infrastructure, will hold a series of talks and events during the online Berlinale in March. The WCF Days program will include discussions on "decolonizing cinema" and a director's talk with a WCF-funded filmmaker whose project will be part of this year's official festival selection.

The 71st Berlin International Film Festival will announce its official 2021 lineup in the coming weeks.